Former Harambee Stars coach James Nandwa expects either Meddie Kagere or Patrik Matasi to be named the 2017 SportPesa Premier League Most Valuable Player.
Kagere and Matasi lead a five-man shortlist for the best player in the top-flight football competition last season.
The award, whose winner will be named at an elaborate awards ceremony at a Nairobi hotel on Friday, comes with a prize money of Sh1 million.
The other shortlisted players in the category are the much-talked about Kariobangi Sharks goalkeeper John Oyiemba, Nzoia Sugar’s Lawrence Juma and Micheal Madoya of Zoo Kericho.
But even though this trio made an instant impression in their respective debut seasons in the top flight, the experienced Nandwa is vouching for either Kagere or Matasi.
“I am making my selection mainly based on consistency. So it has to be Kagere or Matasi,” said Nandwa who currently is unattached, but is remembered for winning the domestic cup during his stint as AFC Leopards coach in 2014.
“Kagere for instance is not only a goalscorer. He works very hard in every game and helps his team in many ways. Matasi has kept improving with each season. Very many people were surprised when he was selected to start in goal for the national team but not me. He is also very courageous,” Nandwa said.
While Matasi conceded 22 goals, the least in the top flight league last year, Kagere was instrumental in Gor Mahia’s triumphant campaign netting 14 goals for K’Ogalo.
Mid last month, the Gor Mahia forward was voted the Sports Journalist Association of Kenya (SJAK) Most Valuable Player in an inaugural gala held in Nairobi.
Kagere beat former Kariobangi Sharks’ forward Masoud Juma and compatriot Jacques Tuyisenge to the prestigious award that came with a 55-inch television screen courtesy of LG, a return ticket from Skyward Express, a DStv decoder and a gift hamper from Kenya Wine Agency Limited (KWAL).
Meanwhile, South Africa bound Masoud Juma will receive the golden boot award having outscored every other player in the competition last season.
The ex-Kariobangi Sharks forward, who only signed for Premier Soccer League club Cape Town City at the start of this month, scored three goals more than Kagere, and will receive Sh500,000 for his efforts.